All blogs are the views of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Independent Age.

Look outside. How fast is the traffic? What about by local shops? Does it feel safe? Perhaps 30mph (or more) seems normal? We’ve grown up with it. Yet the UK’s 30mph limit is 60% higher than the 30kmph (18.6mph) common in Northern Europe. 12.6m Britons live in Authorities choosing 20mph instead.

20’s Plenty for Us is the National Campaign, free to join, for 20mph limits where people live. Wide area, signed 20mph limits (without humps) are key to better safety, raised exercise levels and are environmental as noise and pollution fall.  

Crashes are more serious for the elderly as recovery takes longer. Any disability makes avoiding a hazard harder. Slower speeds mean everyone has more time to react. 20mph speeds cut injuries by about 20% and pedestrian and cyclist survival rates are 7 times greater.

Are you fit? Can you cross roads easily on foot or by cycling? Or do fast roads feel intimidating? Speed becomes greed when it stops people from using local streets. The old, disabled and children are most at risk. Through shared interests in safer streets we can bring generations together. Residential 20mph limits are popular with 7 out of 10 adults. Only 1 in 10 is against[1].

If you drive perhaps you’ve thought forward to a time when it might no longer be sensible? My mother sold her car last year due to dementia. She walks and uses her bus pass. We must create streets where the elderly can keep enough mobility and where pedestrians are valued. Walking is the glue of any transport system. It keeps people connected and not lonely.

Professor Danny Dorling chose 20mph as his key policy to reduce health inequality when writing for the British Academy[2]. Poorer households particularly gain.

Today’s children don’t play out as often partly because of fast traffic. How will they become self reliant and independent? Children have record low activity levels and frighteningly high weights with 1 in 4 of London’s 12 year old obese.

Grandparents can fight for their family’s interests in a way that busy parents cannot. It’s a unique role. You could give a lasting legacy simply by asking Local Councillors for 20mph signage. The Women’s Institute in Middleton-cum-Fordley, Suffolk did and won. You could too.

[1] British Social Attitudes Survey pg 32  

[2] Prof Danny Dorling in"If you could do one thing..." Nine local actions to reduce health inequalities 

Links in this blog will open in a new window

What do you think needs to happen to make the UK the best country to grow older in?

What concerns you most about growing older and why?

Please leave us or the blogger a comment below.

Or send us your responses through our consultation response form.